We’ve only just said goodbye to Storm Ciara and are now set to meet Storm Dennis this weekend. How do you keep your home safe during these periods of rough and potentially damaging weather?
The Met Office provides national weather warnings and advice on severe weather. High winds and heavy rain can cause damage to properties, and flying debris poses a risk to your buildings, vehicles and any people caught out in the storm. Whilst insurance can help financially to repair damage (assuming you have the right cover in place) – there are steps you can to take to prevent the damage occurring in the first place.
Building maintenance carried out by skilled, competent people is the best line of defence against extreme weather. It helps prevent the elements penetrating walls and roofs to cause further damage to stock and interiors, and can stop tiles, signage and other exterior fixtures contributing to flying debris.
But there are some simple steps that you can take to lessen the effect of a storm, and making sure your home is well-maintained is one of the best ways to protect against storm damage.
- Have the roof of your home checked for any loose or missing tiles, paying close attention to any flat roofing as this can be particularly vulnerable in heavy rain. Inspect gutters and down-pipes to make sure they are clear of debris so rain can drain away effectively.
- If you have trees on your property, get loose branches removed by a specialist tree surgeon to stop such branches causing damage in high winds.
- Park any vehicles in a garage, or at least away from large trees.
- Secure all windows and doors to stop the storm whipping through your home.
- Store or secure garden furniture to stop it being picked up by the storm and causing damage.
- Think about installing lightning protection to your property, which will offer an easy, direct path for the bolt to follow into the ground, preventing injury, damage and the risk of fires resulting from electrical surges. Grounding rods, at least two per house, should be placed at opposite corners of the home.
- Don’t forget to include your outbuildings; people store many valuable items in outbuildings so make sure they are just as well protected as items in your home.
The storms that hit the UK often cause flooding this is one of the most traumatic and stressful events that a homeowner can encounter.
As flooding becomes a more frequent event, there are steps that you can take to stop or at least limit the impact of flooding on your home.
If you live in an area susceptible to flooding
- Keep an eye on streams, rivers and lakes near your home for any changes in water levels. If you see them rising, look at local news or the environment agency for any flood warnings.
- If you have any waterways that cross your land keep sluice gates and culverts clear of debris so that flood water has a better chance of draining away.
- Keep a store of sandbags and boards to block doors and windows.
- Basements and cellars, more common to older and larger buildings, are high-risk areas that often fill with water. It may be worth considering investment in a sump pump system and permanently blocking any easy entry points for water, such as coal chutes.
- Put together a flood kit that includes key personal documents, a torch and batteries, wellies, waterproof clothing, a first aid kit and blankets.
- Keep an easily accessible flood contact list of useful telephone numbers, including family contact details, your local authority and the Environment Agency (in England and Wales) or SEPA (in Scotland). You can also call Floodline on 0345 988 1188.